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Don’t Like The Book – Sue The Author

By Todd D. Lamb
Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, writing for the majority in a landmark free speech case, once famously quipped, “I can’t define pornography, but I know it when I see it.”

Sometimes defining what constitutes a frivolous lawsuit is like that. Tough to describe in the abstract, but easy to find lots of examples. The latest example, as reported by the Wall Street Journal , is an increase in class action lawsuits against publishers from unhappy readers. Self-help authors beware: will you be next if readers don’t achieve their desired outcome after reading your book?

The most infamous lawsuit against a book, a class action suit over James Frey’s memoir A Million Little Pieces, was settled for up to $2.35 million, though only 1,700 people ended up asking to be reimbursed for book purchases. Legal fees totaled $783,000.

In the world’s most litigious society – America’s personal injury attorneys see no profitable enterprise that isn’t fair game for litigation. It was only a matter of time before they set their sights on the New York Times Best Sellers list. And make no mistake, the attorneys themselves are the real winners in this effort. Freedom of speech be damned – if there is a dollar to be made, there is a lawyer on the case.


Todd D. Lamb is the Executive Director of Maryland Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse





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